TRURO - Colchester County residents expressed a mixture of emotions yesterday when the area suffered massive flooding.
While some residents were nervous of raising water levels and the evening's high tide, others were more adventurous and took to the flooded streets to get a close-up look of underwater roads and barricaded areas. Many were shocked at how much flooding occurred so quickly.
Bible Hill's Jim Chipman said he went to Tim Hortons in the morning and by the time he had his coffee his home near the Salmon River was surrounded by water.
"They say this is worse than usual," said Chipman, 53, who has been through several floods.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre said up to 100 millimetres of rain was expected over eastern mainland Nova Scotia by today as tropical storm Leslie churned toward Atlantic Canada. With last night's high tide expected about 9 p.m. and a few showers in the forecast, Colchester County Mayor Bob Taylor said officials will keep a close eye on the rivers.
"This is the worst flood I've seen ... a little worse than 2003 ... if worst comes to worst, we'll declare a state of emergency, but we're not there yet," Taylor said at suppertime on Monday.
Some Truro residents wondered throughout the day how close it was to being called a state of emergency. Although no major accidents or injuries were reported by local police and the RCMP, at last count, 22 people left their homes in favour of a Canadian Red Cross emergency site at the Bible Hill fire hall and Immanuel Baptist Church in Truro. About a half dozen were expected to spend the night at the Truro emergency site. Another 40 people were rescued by boat and people who were evacuated from their homes in and around the Farnham Road area, including the nearby trailer park, were bused to the Red Cross station at Immanuel Baptist Church. Busing was also available for people on Robie Street, which was one of many areas that had severe flooding.
By early afternoon, the only way in and out of Truro was by the Walmart exit. Local closures included Park and Lorne streets, the Bible Hill Subway, Brookside Road and Highway 311 in North River, north of Grant's Grocery. Numerous other roads had partial closures, including East Prince Street and Robie Street. In some cases it took motorists about 35 minutes to drive from the Truro Mall to the Atlantic Superstore, which would traditionally take a matter of minutes.
In addition, Cobequid Educational Centre was closed by 10:30 a.m. Later in the day Stanfields and the Comfort Inn were evacuated. Also, the North River dike by Molly's Dairy Bar and a dike near CEC both overflowed.
RCMP continue to stress the importance of the public being wise in such dangerous weather conditions. Corp. Addie McCallum told the Truro Daily News sight-seers were causing problems. One example was the bridge between Bible Hill and Truro, as well as the Riverfront Park, which had a number of spectators because the Salmon River was flooding nearby land.
"(Spectators) are putting themselves in a dangerous situation ... and it makes it harder on emergency crews," said McCallum.
And as the storm subsides there may be opportunities to get assistance for related damage.
Emergency management officer Minister Ross Landry confirmed there may be a joint federal and provincial disaster financial assistance program for people who sustained uninsurable losses to a primary residence or a small business.
"It's a bit premature at this stage ... and there would have to be assessments and a formula followed but that's what may happen," said Landry.